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photo: Bart Verraest

Catherine Nelson (Australia, 1970) graduated as a painter from the College of Fine Arts in Sydney in 1996. When she began photographing, the feeling crept over her that the medium fell short of being able to get across her inner experience of the world. Thanks to her training as a painter and years of experience in the film industry, where she had worked with the most advanced digital effects, she was able to find new ways. From thousands of photos of a specific place she assembles floating, transcendent and otherworldly appearing landscapes. In 2008 she set up her own studio in Ghent and Amsterdam, where she lives alternately. 

 What is your relationship with Noorderlicht?
“I have exhibited with Noorderlicht twice. The first exhibition was in 2012 at the 19th International Photo Festival, ‘Terra Cognita’. The second was in 2018 at the 25th iteration, called ‘IN VIVO | the nature of nature’.”

What was your favourite Noorderlicht-exhibition?
“That would be ‘Terra Cognita’. It was held over a number of venues. At the Museum Belvédère the exhibition spilled over into the grounds around the museum.The opening was a fantastic event and the great weather was well appreciated! Over a hundred exhibitors showed up for it. We were all put up in a hotel near the Belvédère Museum, which was a great opportunity to meet other photographers. My work is very time consuming and labour intensive - it is a very solitary practice. So to have the opportunity to mingle with other photographers of all ages and levels of experience was very stimulating and even helpful at what was, at the time, the early stages of my exhibiting career. It has been an exhibiting highlight for me.”

How do you see the future for Noorderlicht?
“I’d love to see more of the same - to keep going. I really like that Noorderlicht are open to all forms of expression within the photographic domain. From analogue to digital, collage and all the manifestations of the medium, thus offering all sorts of photographic artists a platform to exhibit. I’d also love to see you establishing more relationships with other festivals around the world. It would be great to create some kind of database of international photo festivals that could be accessed by festival organisers as well as photographers.”